A good rule of thumb is that the more pious the progressive, the worse the hypocrisy.
And behind every successful glass ceilling breaking Dem running on feminism and fumes, is a creepy male aide.
Senator Kamala Harris had her #MeToo problem. Now it’s Senator Gillibrand’s turn.
Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.), one of the most outspoken advocates of the #MeToo movement who has made fighting sexual misconduct a centerpiece of her presidential campaign, spent last summer pressing legislators to update Congress’ “broken” system of handling sexual harassment.
At the same time, a mid-20s female aide to Gillibrand resigned in protest over the handling of her sexual harassment complaint by Gillibrand‘s office, and criticized the senator for failing to abide by her own public standards.
Lefties advocate for standards precisely so they don’t have to abide by them.
The man in question is Abbas Malik whom Gillibrand had hired as her military advisor and driver. An odd pairing. And who apparently had been quite close to her.
In July, the female staffer alleged one of Gillibrand’s closest aides — who was a decade her senior and married — repeatedly made unwelcome advances after the senator had told him he would be promoted to a supervisory role over her. She also said the male aide regularly made crude, misogynistic remarks in the office about his female colleagues and potential female hires.
Gillibrand’s office apparently responded by covering up the incident and blaming the woman.
This is especially notable considering that Gillibrand had built her brand on #MeToo and on claiming to be the victim of sexual harassment in the Senate gym.
Two weeks ago, however, POLITICO presented the office with its own findings of additional allegations of inappropriate workplace conduct by Malik. Among the claims were that he made a “joke” about rape to a female colleague — a person whom the office had failed to contact last summer despite repeated urgings by Malik’s accuser to reach out to the person.
Gillibrand’s office opened a new investigation and dismissed Malik last week. Malik did not respond to requests for comment.
His linkedin profile also seems to be down.
Malik had spent years by Gillibrand’s side as her driver — the senator officiated at his wedding — while the woman was a more recent hire and had significantly less stature in the office.
Malik became Gillibrand’s driver in 2011 after serving two tours in the Iraq War. He became such a constant presence in Gillibrand’s life — he had a set of keys to her home and often drove her children to school with her — that some staffers dubbed him “the keeper of her purse.
It sounds like Malik was effectively her body man/gofer. Those people tend to have the ears of politicians.
One of those two former staffers said Malik often called her fat and unattractive to her face and made light of sexual abuse. She recalled one instance in which Malik remarked that a particular woman they were talking about “couldn’t get laid unless she was raped.” The person did not report that behavior at the time but now says she wishes she had.
Two more staffers who worked for Gillibrand said the woman’s claims of Malik’s inappropriate workplace behavior matched their own experiences. They said Malik regularly made misogynistic jokes, frequently appraised what they wore, disparaged the looks of other female staffers and rated the attractiveness of women who came in for interviews.
Gillibrand’s office acknowledged it found evidence that Malik had made unspecified inappropriate comments and revoked his expected promotion, which would have come with a raise. It also moved his desk and gave him a final warning. This was not the first time the senator’s top aides dealt with an allegation of bad behavior by Malik: According to a firsthand witness of an incident in 2015, Malik confronted a fellow aide in the office. He got in the man’s face, pushed his desk and threatened to “fucking” hurt him, the witness said, describing the confrontation as “violent.”
When I had the courage to speak up about my harasser, I was belittled by her office and treated like an inconvenience,” the woman said of Gillibrand in an interview. “She kept a harasser on her staff until it proved politically untenable for her to do so.”
And the usual “Do as I say, not as I do” position ruled the day.
The main mechanism for the woman to bring a complaint outside the Senate office would have been through the Office of Compliance. She visited that office before going to her superiors but found it unhelpful, saying a staffer merely recited language from its website. She also knew that in order to file a complaint she would first have to go through at least 30 days of mediation and likely more. Last year, Gillibrand called that a “daunting requirement,” while pushing to reform the compliance office.
Much like Senator Kamala Harris fighting to stop NDA’s for being used for sexual harassment complaints only to have her top aide’s sexual harassment be covered up by an NDA.